all words: Farrah Skeiky
all photos: Franz Mahr
The hype is high, costumes are completely inappropriate for the freezing weather (and occasionally just plain inappropriate), and everyone at the Fillmore is buzzing around impatiently and excitedly–CHROMEOO, OHHHH.
After an hour-long set from Breakbot got the crowd moving and eager for more, Mayer Hawthorne and the County took to the stage in (adorable) coordinated red outfits, Hawthorne himself donning a suit while the band stuck with sweaters and slacks.
The Detroit/Motown influence could be seen before it was even heard. To be honest, it took me a few songs to get into these guys, because I was trying to piece together exactly what I was hearing. It was a big band, soulful instrumentation with hip-hop influenced vocals, and a very big attitude to match.
Mayer Hawthorne brought just enough sass and backed that up with a heaving sound that demanded attention. For an up-and-coming band, this is level of energy is fitting–it is enough to draw interest, enough to be more memorable than any old opening band. There’s an element of story telling and lesson-learning in some songs that makes a connection with the audience, and there are enough fluffy songs about love and relationships to satisfy everyone more than other openers might.
The only complaint I can raise is how rehearsed some of Hawthorne’s little tangents seemed. Sure, a first impression is crucial, but there is something to be appreciated in an organic and easy-going performance that may have been a better fit for the carefree but soulful nature of the music that came with it. But considering the style, the energy, the absolute charm, and the old-school influence that Mayer Hawthorne and the County bring, it made perfect sense for them to be touring with Chromeo.
Chromeo have been excellent time every time I’ve seen them, and their visit to the 9:30 Club last January for the Business Casual Tour is still fresh in my memory, so I expected nothing less than their signature funk base-lines, flawless execution and almost-too-cool-for-you attitude.
If you don’t already know who Chromeo are (and if you read BYT, chances are that you DO KNOW who they are-Ed.), I feel very, very sorry for you, and I wonder to what you could possibly be dancing. They are a phenomenal electronic dance duo with a heavy funk and 70s influence, bringing together Dave 1 (David Macklovich) and P-Thugg (Patrick Germayel), who call themselves “the only successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture.” My best guess is that, at the very least, you know them for “that one song.”
Chromeo enter the stage to their signature intro, a chant that the crowd follow and even began before the duo appeared. They waste no time diving into “Fancy Footwork” instead of holding out on the crowd, and it is graciously received. Now that the bar has been set high for the rest of the night, the guys keep turning it out, with little interruption or hesitation.
The thing that made this show so great was that even though the duo hasn’t released any new material since the last tour, none of the songs felt old or overworked. The absence of the Chromettes (backup singers who were part of the last tour) in no way detracted from the performance. In fact, the songs may have sounded better now than they did nine months ago.
And how can you tell the duo is having a great time? Well, all it takes is a short and sweet declaration from Dave 1: “Alright, Washington D.C., it’s time to get pregnant.”
Right back into it. There are silly interludes to tease the audience and keep their attention and energy up, though it is hardly necessary. A surprising amount of the crowd recognizes “She’s In Control,” a single from the 2004 debut album, and naturally everyone goes absolutely bonkers over most of everything off of the most recent “Business Casual.”
Dave 1 and P-Thugg interact with one another exactly how you would expect best friends to, grinning excitedly at each other, breaking out cowbell/cymbal solos simultaneously, and for a short while, P-Thugg emerges from behind his synth set-up to play back to back with Dave 1. The on-stage bromance is balanced by the suave attitude Dave 1 carries for the majority of the night, being dubbed by many as a “sexy, scruffy guitar wolf.”
Chromeo knows that the crowd is here to dance, and they make it a mission to keep that up until the night is over. The seventeen-song set does not disappoint, the transitions are seamless, and while the duo gives little gestures that go along with the suave and sexy attitude, the set, the band, and the dancing is fun.
Even Dave 1 can’t stop himself from smiling every once in a while. There are Dire Straits covers (that absolutely no one saw coming). There is an unhealthy amount of cowbell. There is immense appreciation for one girl’s jellyfish costume umbrella.
Most importantly, everyone danced until their feet refused to carry them. Even without new songs, the show was just the right amount of fun (and the right kind of fun) for Halloween weekend. Chromeo thanked D.C. for being wonderful, and the feeling is more than mutual. If anyone could melt the snow off this frigid weekend solely with the power of funk, it’s these guys.
- Fancy Footwork
- I’m Not Contagious
- Outta Sight
- She’s In Control
- Call Me Up
- Opening Up
- Hot Mess
- Waiting 4 U
- Money For Nothing (Dire Straits cover/snippet)
- Bonafied Lovin’
- When The Night Falls
- You’re So Gangsta
- Momma’s Boy
- Needy Girl
- Night By Night
- You Make It Rough
- Don’t Turn The Lights On
- My Girl Is Calling Me (A Liar)